“The Most Important Person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral -a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby’s body. . . The angels have not been blessed with such a grace. They cannot share in God’s creative miracle to bring new saints to Heaven. Only a human mother can. Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creature; God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation. .. What on God’s good earth is more glorious than this: to be a mother?”
~ Venerable Jozsef Cardinal Mindszenty
Motherhood has been in the news lately, for various reasons, but it is clear that within society the once prevalent idea of the noble nature of motherhood has been systematically destroyed. The mass use of contraception and legalized abortion has led to the denigration of natural motherhood: the motherhood that is the natural fruit of sexual relations. Something once deemed a gift, a baby, to be nourished within the walls of Holy Matrimony, is now often viewed as a curse, something to be avoided. A pregnancy/baby is often seen as a nuisance and an object that thwarts the woman’s efforts to get out into the factory (G.K. Chesterton) and toil for other men. Motherhood has been so denigrated as a delightful and satisfying occupation/vocation over the past one hundred years that it is no wonder things are as they are. However, not willing to concede to life-robbers, we need to start a counter movement, and fight for all things mother, beginning with a love for the First Mother, Our Lady, whose mother, St. Anne, the Church honors today; and for the delightful vocation of motherhood. We need to put working in the factory, modern slavery as G.K. Chesterton called it (more of that in a minute), in its place: it is often a form of slavery when you work for others, even for pay.
When did this sort of life become more elevated to women than working for their own family with a man that they love? In their own home a woman is free: she may work as she wishes: she may earn her own money by creating a home-based business, or by working outside of the home, on occasion, based on the needs of her family. But, such decisions are decisions of the family, not of the factory owner, and not of the State. But, as I said, even in Western cultures, motherhood has been so denigrated that young women are making the erroneous choice of delaying motherhood, or avoiding motherhood altogether. Experience shows us that, for many women, such decisions will haunt them in their fifties, sixties, and beyond. I hear such sentiments from older women: they wish they had had children or had given their families more of their time and love; but they had been victims of anti-life propaganda machines. These forces wish to break up the family in order to gain control over the masses. We need to be voices calling out that there are other ways of living: that there is life in the family, in noble motherhood, in fatherhood; and in what we know was the traditional Christian and Catholic way of living (Dr. Roberto de Mattei).
Even the Toronto based behavioral psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson has put forth a call to young women to reconsider motherhood; to look again at this vocation which he terms the adventure of motherhood, see here. Peterson notes that motherhood is a difficult occupation, one fraught with suffering as seen in the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary holding her deceased son in the Pieta; but, he states, that does not negate the fact that motherhood is a delightful adventure, a noble form of life.
Years ago, the English writer G.K. Chesterton (b. 1874- d. 1936) saw women flocking to factories to work, believing that they were emancipated from the drudgeries (as if that was all that such a life consisted of: drudgery and toil; as if there were no love and life in it) of hearth and home; and he could not understand it, for he thought the life of hearth and home was the land (Fairyland!) where women were free and flourished. He wrote against the sterilizing cultural effects of birth control and the rejection of motherhood (and fatherhood) when he wrote:
…my contempt boils over into bad behaviour when I hear the common suggestion that a birth is avoided because people want to be “free” to go to the cinema or buy a gramophone or a loud-speaker. What makes me want to walk over such people like doormats is that they use the word “free.” By every act of that sort they chain themselves to the most servile and mechanical system yet tolerated by men…Now a child is the very sign and sacrament of personal freedom. He is a fresh free will added to the wills of the world; he is something that his parents have freely chosen to produce and which they freely agree to protect. They can feel that any amusement he gives (which is often considerable) really comes from him and from them, and from nobody else. He has been born without the intervention of any master or lord. He is a creation and a contribution; he is their own creative contribution to creation. He is also a much more beautiful, wonderful, amusing and astonishing thing than any of the stale stories or ijingling jazz tunes turned out bv the machines. When men no longer feel that he is so, they have lost the appreciation of primary things, and therefore all sense of proportion about the world. People who prefer the mechanical pleasures, to such a miracle, are jaded and enslaved. They are preferring the very dregs of life to the first fountains of life. They are preferring the last, crooked, indirect, borrowed, repeated and exhausted things of our dying Capitalist civilisation, to the reality which is the only rejuvenation of all civilisation. It is they who are hugging the chains of their old slavery; it is the child who is ready for the new world. (source)
Chesterton wrote a piece titled The Emancipation of Domesticity which is quite famous. It may be read here; but, be prepared: we have been indoctrinated by anti-motherhood propaganda for quite a while, so much so, that it is often difficult to expand our minds and to take a new look at the topic of motherhood and family life.
St. Anne and St. Mary, pray for all mothers today: may they know that their calling is noble and is a gift from God. May they guard and nourish their children, the fruit(s) of their womb.
May you have a good day and weekend.
~Image: Christ in the House of His Parents, by Sir John Everett Millais, created between 1849-1850, St. Anne is pictured in orange cape, source.
~Additional viewing: Dr. Roberto de Mattei on The West is Losing the Family, see here: